Published on International Women’s Day, Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane by Caroline Baxter, illustrated by Izabela Ciesinska, not only takes the reader on a whirl through cities of the world, but explores working as a team with a girl in the captain’s seat. This is a fun new addition for a young audience, with rhyming text, and a message about girl power, which follows in the footsteps of Zog and Pearl Power, and further perpetuates the trend for strong female protagonists in picture books. Here, Caroline gives us some background thoughts about her main character, Pilot Jane.
- Pilot Jane is super clever. A bit like the baby in Simon James’s brilliant Baby Brains, she was a whizz at school and passed all her exams with flying colours. Her favourite subjects were maths, science and geography. By the time other children were in the toddler room at nursery, Jane had already progressed to pilot training and was taking her flight and ground exams. She was the youngest in her class to graduate (by at least 15 years) and was later promoted to airline captain.
- Pilot Jane loves flying more than anything in the world. She loves seeing the world from the air and finds each flight almost as exciting as the countries she visits. Pilot Jane is also very dedicated to her job. She prides herself on her ability to deliver her passengers safely to destinations worldwide, whatever the weather.
- Pilot Jane’s favourite city is Paris. She has visited many times for work and pleasure and enjoys spending time in the beautiful museums and galleries, hopping on a boat tour or soaking up the atmosphere in a café or restaurant. She also likes sampling all the different French pastries and can often be found near the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre with a croissant in hand.
- Jane was originally inspired to be a pilot by reading about the career in a children’s book. Bored with the usual tales of princesses and dresses that were given to her as a girl, she decided she’d like to do something different. Training to be a pilot also satisfied her need for a challenge and her love of travel and adventure.
- However, Jane may not be a pilot forever. Never one to sit still, at some point she may add to her skills – possibly by driving racing cars, writing travel books or becoming an astronaut. Anything is possible for Pilot Jane. She loves learning and she rules nothing out.
- Pilot Jane met her best friend Rose at flight training school. The two hit if off instantly and have flown together ever since. Each time at take-off they sing the same ‘girl power’ song and also love encouraging other girls (human or plane) to work hard and follow their dreams.
- Rose has won many awards for flying, including a ‘Fastest Plane’ award. When she’s not on passenger duty, she enters lots of races and loves to surprise the other planes (particularly the boys!) when she shoots past them, engine roaring.
- In her spare time, Pilot Jane has many hobbies. At the moment, she is learning Spanish and Chinese, she’s a proficient surfer, practises yoga and tai chi, enjoys horse-riding and rock-climbing and, of course, reads lots of books (particularly about the places she travels to). By contrast, Rose is quite happy to chill out and put her wheels up when she’s not flying or racing.
- Pilot Jane’s birthday is 8 March, which is also International Women’s Day.
- Pilot Jane’s proudest moment was when she was invited to the palace to take afternoon tea with the Queen. She and Rose had a fantastic time and the best Victoria sponge EVER! She and the Queen are now good friends and Pilot Jane sometimes pops by to help her walk her corgis.
With thanks to Caroline Baxter. You can buy Pilot Jane here.